Pac-12 Week 2 Picks
Updated: Sep 7, 2019
We are invincible.
Bryant: Season to date (0-0) Straight Up (0-0) Against the Spread
Rob: Season to date (9-1) Straight Up (6-4)* Against the Spread
Saturday September, 7th
#90 NIU (1-0) at #25 Utah (1-0)
10:00am PT, Pac-12 Network
Line: Utah -22.0
Beta_Rank Win Prob: Utah 85%
Beta_Rank Line: Utah -13.49 (DO NOT GAMBLE)
Rob: I think Utah wins this game, but 22 points feels like a lot for a decent NIU team that can still play a little defense. I hope for the sake of Utah fans that this isn't the brutal slog last season's game was. The Huskies rank #28 in returning production on defense and feature Ross Bowers at QB.
Utah 34 NIU 16
Bryant: HOW DID WE GO AN ENTIRE PODCAST WITHOUT MENTIONING ROSS BOWERS IS THE QB OF NORTHERN ILLINOIS?!!!! Initially took Utah on the podcast but the more I work through this game the more I think 22 points is too much. I believe in Utah. I think they are excellent but I don't think they are going to run an offense in this game that will easily lead to a 22 point blowout -- all though there is no doubt the talent is there. I'll take the 22 points and take NIU.
Utah: Same old offense -- same awesome defense NIU: Welcome back, Ross Bowers
#35 Nebraska (1-0) at #50 Colorado (1-0)
12:30pm PT, Fox
Line: Nebraska -4
Beta_Rank Win Prob: Nebraska 55%
Beta_Rank Line: Nebraska -1.47 (DO NOT GAMBLE)
Rob: The model definitely likes Nebraska less than the pollsters and Vegas do, but the game looks to be tight enough that getting one timely turnover could put either team over the top. I don't think Colorado is going to be able to get away with running the ball the way they did against CSU, but you would expect them to open up the offense anyway in this game. The Buffs were a little questionable coming into the season in the secondary and CSU certainly gave you reason to have doubts. I also have big doubts about the Huskers defense though. I like the Buffs to win with a more wide open offense, but it's going to be a shootout.
Colorado 38 Nebraska 34
Bryant: Do not gamble on this game. Max outlined on the podcast his lack of enthusiasm of this Colorado defense's speed. I agree. That's not a good sign when Adrian Martinez is coming to town. But Nebraska's defense wasn't good last year and doesn't project to be good this year. And Colorado has some offensive tools to be competitive at home. I'll take the four points and a Colorado team in Folsom Field ready to get loud.
Colorado: Get some Nebraska: More Oregon State transfers
#76 SDSU (1-0) at #48 UCLA (0-1)
1:15pm PT, Pac-12 Network
Line: UCLA -8
Beta_Rank Win Prob: UCLA 73%
Beta_Rank Line: UCLA -7.57 (DO NOT GAMBLE)
Rob: I watched that game in Cincinnati in person and it was worse live than on TV. The only thing that kept the game close was the Bearcats not cashing in on great field position. The Bruins had one positive in the game and that was that their run defense looked pretty good up the middle; where Cincinnati went most of the time, but the pass defense wasn't great and the line struggle to get good pressure. The offense was just terrible. Thompson_Robinson was deeply ineffective, the WR's struggled to get open, and the line crumpled under pressure. UCLA could run it reasonably well, but not in the kind of way that could make up for a non-existent passing game. In steps another Group of 5 team with a solid defense and commitment to running the football. I think this time the Bruins prevail though. It's at home and I don't think SDSU is sophisticated enough offensively to come up with something if the run isn't working. I do expect the Aztec defense to cause the Bruins fits though. Rocky Long is an underappreciated coach.
UCLA 20 SDSU 17
Bryant: I took the under in this game (45.5) and that was before San Diego State's star running back Juwan Washington was listed as questionable. Rob and I covered UCLA extensively on the podcast. Neither of us understood the hype and, after the Cincinnati game, we are more convinced that this UCLA team is in trouble. I'll take the 8.5 points and San Diego State. Yes, they scored six points against Weber State but I think their defense is good and I don't trust UCLA's defense to keep this game out of reach. I think the under is the better play, though.
UCLA: LOL SDSU: BEST HELMETS IN COLLEGE FOOTBALL
#94 Nevada (1-0) vs #18 Oregon (0-1)
4:30pm PT, Pac-12 Network
Line: Oregon -24.5
Beta_Rank Win Prob: Oregon 90%
Beta_Rank Line: Oregon -17.48 (DO NOT GAMBLE)
Rob: Nevada needed 5 turnovers to beat Purdue, so it's not like the Wolfpack might be more lucky than good. That said it feel like quite a bit of points. Nevada isn't some SEC defense and they rank #98 in returning production, but they finished at #34 last season and DC Jeff Casteel is underrated at XO's. I thought Oregon, and Herbert in particular, played one of their better games I have seen from them in the Auburn game. Herbert made the passing game work with guys that were not putting separation between themselves and Auburn's coverage. That said the offensive play-calling was STILL a problem and on the last drive Auburn adjusted to what they had been seeing from the Ducks all night to find favorable coverages for Nix; the last throw in particular they knew they'd get single coverage on the top route and Nix looked there the whole way. My guess is Nevada puts some points up late and Oregon coasts to leisurely win with some minor struggles with Casteel's defense.
Oregon 38 Nevada 17
Bryant: This is a total let down spot for Nevada. I don't think there is a scenario where they steal a game at Autzen. I also liked a lot of what I saw out of Oregon last week, you know, minus the last half of the 4th quarter. Seriously, Justin Herbert looked good, there was a coherent defensive plan, and Oregon looked like it belonged on the big stage. Still, Nevada will be well coached enough to stay with in 24.5 -- probably not by a lot but give me the points and the Wolfpack.
Oregon: Don't call time out twice in a row Nevada: Welcome back, Jeff Casteel
7:30pm PT, FS1
Line: Washington -13.5
Beta_Rank Win Prob: Washington 76%
Beta_Rank Line: Washington -8.74 (DO NOT GAMBLE)
Rob: The only sure thing I know about in this game is Cal's defense. I don't know what to think of Cal's offense and whether they can be more than incrementally better than last year, I have no idea about Washington's offense and their offensive line and play-calling issues from last year, and I don't know how Washington's defense is going to play replacing so much production. Washington has their own set of defensive aces to match Wilcox and DeRuyter so I am pretty sure that the Huskies can contain Cal's offense. What the Huskies do against Cal's defense is another matter though. Hamdan was thoroughly out coached last season in this game and he'll need some answers this year. If the Huskies avoid turnovers they should win what might be a deeply ugly game.
Washington 20 Cal 10
Bryant: I teased the under in this game up to 51 along with Stanford/USC like an idiot. Hopefully it works out. Cal's defense is legit. And as good as Jacob Eason looked, and he sure looked good, I think the Cal defense is whole different animal. I think Washington wins but 14 points is a lot of points to give to a top 15 defense in the country and I'll gladly take them.
Washington: A good win at home Cal: Awkward plane flights with Beau Baldwin
7:30pm PT, ESPN
Beta_Rank Win Prob: USC 66%
Beta_Rank Line: USC -5.45 (DO NOT GAMBLE)
Rob: Davis Mills vs. Kedon Slovis!!! I have a hunch that whomever avoids turnovers wins the game. Both defenses will likely try to take away the run and then bring pressure on passing downs so if either team can establish a passing rhythm on early downs it could open up the offense by backing LB's and safeties out of the box. Otherwise this might devolve into a messy game of turnovers (don't throw at Adeebo) and big plays. You probably like Stanford on the turnovers and USC on the big plays. In the end I trust USC athletes and the simplicity of the Air Raid, but it's going to be close.
USC 20 Stanford 17
Bryant: This is basically a bowl game. Who the heck knows what's going to happen. I don't like Stanford and I don't like USC. This is like those stupid 8 vs. 9 seed matchups in the NCAA tournament against two dumb teams that barely made the tournament and the winner gets blown out by Duke. Stanford can't run the ball. Can David Mills throw? It didn't look like it against Northwestern. Give me USC because it's at home and I trust their running attack and I trust Graham Harrell to put Kevin Slovis in a position to manage the offense against an overrated Stanford defense. Also, I teased this under up to 50 along with Washington/Cal like an idiot.
Nobody will win at the end of this game.
#119 Oregon State (0-1) vs #118 Hawai'i (1-0)
8:59pm PT, FACEBOOK!!!!!!
Line: Hawai'i -6.5
Beta_Rank Win Prob: Oregon State/Hawai'i 50%
Beta_Rank Line: Oregon State/Hawai'i Pick 'Em (DO NOT GAMBLE)
Rob: Hawai'i put on a clinic on how to attack Marcel Yate's defense, not that it requires a genius, but their route combo's clinically exploited Arizona's coverage schemes in ways that showed meticulous game planning. They have had two weeks to prepare for Oregon State and you like them against the Beavers defense, but they are not anywhere in Oklahoma State's offensive league. The Beavers should have a much easier time with Hawai'i's defense than they did last week and I expect them to be able to run the ball effectively in the game. I like the Beavers in the upset.
Oregon State 49 Hawai'i 44
Bryant: Take the points in a shoot out! I like Oregon State's offense, it's legit good. Their defense is a mess but I think this is one of those "last person with the ball wins" type of games. On the podcast we had the line at three and I took Hawaii. Now, the line has popped to 6.5 and that's enough for me to grab Oregon State.
Oregon State: Welcome back, Jake Luton Hawaii: You got your one Pac-12 win, don't get greedy